In the last few years, we have been witnessing many outstanding improvements in the field of agriculture. One of the most exciting and impressive technology revolutions is the development of a self-driving harvester.
The demand for automated farming is huge in the world. As it is getting harder and harder to find skilled personnel to work on a farm and the need to improve efficiency of farming is getting higher and higher every year.
eFarmer company is joining this revolution. We are using the latest technology advances and adopting them for the use of farmers in order to make precision farming available for every farmer in the world.
Five years ago we have started by making the first tractor navigation app for Android devices. Later with the help of crowdfunding campaign we developed the cheapest RTK system for farmers. Now, in only two months we were able to make the autonomous harvester to operate without the human.
Interested to know more how FieldBee team has embraced this challenge? Read the story of a first self-driving harvester powered by FieldBee.
Two months ago, our company received an invitation from HuzingHarvest company to join them in an innovative project. The task was to make a self-driving harvester that operates in the autonomous mode due to September 13, 2019.
Although it was a very short notice eFarmer team has accepted this challenge. “We accepted the challenge as it goes along with our company’s mission to help farmers with technologies to make their work easier and more efficient.”, – says Michael Utkin CEO of eFarmer.
We have started with the project development on the 22nd of July 2019.
How did we build a self-driving harvester
It probably seems impossible to make a self-driving harvester work in such short notice, however, we saw this as a great opportunity and quite an adventurous task. eFarmer team was working really hard and together with the HuizingHarvest team made a self-driving harvester very fast and on time.
When we started our work, this cheap Chinese harvester was already equipped with some sensors, that were installed by HuizingHarvest team and our part was to integrate it with our FieldBee tractor autosteer system and to add autopilot functionality that we didn’t have before.
Only in 2 months with the amazing effort of our great 5 people team we have finished the project.
Now after FieldBee upgrade, the harvester can drive in Manual and Autopilot mode, allowing the operator to easily switch between the modes.
Manual or remote control mode
In this mode the machine turns into a big toy that a farmer can simply control with his smartphone and give the following commands:
- Steer it to the desired direction;
- Drive fast or slow, or stop;
- Turn on/off the engine;
- Drive different directions;
- Control the header (lift it up and down).
It is possible to easily switch to autonomous mode at any time.
This is the mode in which harvester can perform now a mission without human!
In autopilot mode harvester can drive parallel lines in the field with the highest precision, thanks to the FieldBee RTK system. The way how you want harvester to work is called a “mission”. Farmer can set up this mission in the FieldBee app.
During the mission, a farmer can choose the field, the pattern for parallel driving (there are 5 patterns, including saved track pattern) and set up points in the field where the performance is needed. Automatic actions that are currently possible:
- Lift up or down the header;
- Speed up/slow down the harvester;
- Drive straight/reverse;
- Turn on/off the engine;
When reaching the edge of the field Machine automatically makes turns.
To control the harvester, a farmer can use the FieldBee Android navigation application that has an autopilot feature now. In the app, he can see information about the current ‘mission’ progress: 1. Name of the field; 2. Machine’s name; 3. Track progress; 4. Covered area; 5. Time spent in the field and many more.
It is also possible to add additional information such as materials used, type of crop etc. This information will be automatically saved in excel reports that a farmer can see in the smartphone and computer.
“It is possible to add more sensors and increase the number of automatic actions such as feeder house control, yield control etc. This autopilot platform as well can be adapted for the use with various agricultural machines, as well as drone sprayers.” Alexey Bogatyryov, eFarmer CTO
The autonomous harvester project was successfully presented on the 13th September during the HHX Agrobotix Demo event.
The collaboration between eFarmer and HuizingHarvester team resulted victoriously. Here is what Nico, the owner of HuizingHarvester says about working with eFarmer.
“I would really recommend a FieldBee. They are always up for a good challenge. And as you can see they can make it work. Very good company.” Nico Huizing, Owner of HuizingHarvest
eFarmer team enjoyed working with the HuizingHarvest team. Together, we have made one of the first autonomous harvesters and made a big step from precision farming to autonomous farming.
We would be delighted to continue with this kind of project and partner with companies who share the same goal with us: Improve farmers’ life in the field with the newest technology innovations. Framers need new ways to work and produce more on each acre of land without spending more time and money. eFarmer’s mission is to make farmers’ work much easier and more efficient with the highest precision in the field.
If you are looking for a partner to make your agricultural machines smart, autonomous and efficient, please feel free to visit our eFramer website and contact us.
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